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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Effects of Transportation Services On the Scale of Food Retailing


Employment centers, residential locations, and home-to-work trips have traditionally been the focus of the urban transportation planning (UTP) process, while shopping and social/recreational trips have been largely neglected. This paper seeks to improve understanding of the relationships between transportation services and other urban activities; specifically, it examines the food retailing industry. How do transportation systems influence the scale economies of food retailing, and how then does food retailing generate new travel demands on shopping trips? We have investigated increases in automobile usage and improvements in urban roads to identify the effects of transportation services on food retailing. By tracing historical data at the national level, we were able to identify changes in transportation and retail activities. The study shows that transportation has a far-reaching effect on food retailing; it has introduced food stores to new technological formats. The reduced number and increased size of food stores suggest that, over time, traffic patterns relating to food shopping are significantly modified.

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